Introduction to the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA)
The DESSA is a 72-item, standardized, norm-referenced behavior rating scale that assesses the social and emotional competencies of children in kindergarten through the eighth grade. The DESSA can be completed by parents/ guardians, teachers, or staff at schools and child-serving agencies, including out-of-school time (OST), social service, and mental health programs.The DESSA is available in English and Spanish. The assessment is entirely strength-based.
Ideally, all students in grades K-8 will be assessed with the DESSA to determine their social and emotional strengths and needs. However, completing a 72-item behavior rating scale on a universal basis may be impractical due to limited human, financial, and time resources. A short form of the DESSA, known as the DESSA-mini has been developed to meet this need for a brief, economical, and efficient screener of social and emotional competence.
The DESSA-mini consists of four equivalent 8-item forms. The DESSA-mini yields one score, the Social-Emotional Total, that correlates highly with the Social-Emotional Composite on the full 72-item DESSA. The DESSA-mini can be used as a universal screener for social and emotional competence. In addition, the four equivalent forms allow for repeated measurement and make the DESSA-mini ideally suited for use in a response to intervention (RTI) framework addressing social-emotional competence. The DESSA-mini is also available in Spanish.
The APERTURE System
The Aperture System is a comprehensive, cloud-based system that is used to administer the DESSA and DESSA-mini, store and organize assessment results (see Figure 7 below), generate a wealth of reports, and provide access to social and emotional learning (SEL) growth strategies and foundational practices. The DESSA System has been designed to streamline the processes and workflows entailed in delivering a comprehensive SEL program.
Aperture Reports - Aperture provides a wide variety of reports that are used to aid interpretation of results, share information, guide SEL instruction, monitor student progress, and evaluate outcomes. These reports are available at the individual student, classroom, site (e.g., school) and program (e.g., district) level.